Interview between Mark Davey of the DAM Blog and Alex Struminger, Executive Project Manager—Internet, Broadcast & Image Section at UNICEF, Division of Communications
Mark: This is Mark Davey from DigitalAssetManagement.org.uk. Digital Asset Management case studies talking to the people who actually utilize the systems. Today I'm talking to Alex Struminger from UNICEF, and Alex talks about servicing 200 countries and over 6,000 video assets.
Thank you for joining us. So what's your official title with UNICEF?
Alex: So I work in the division of communications, and within the division of communications is the internet broadcast and image section. And our group manages the website and all the plethora of electronic media associated with the internet, as well as broadcast, UNICEF television, UNICEF radio, wire feeds, and still image photography. So it's a broad range of rich media. And the internet being the vehicle through which we talk to the largest number of people.
And in that group, my title is Executive Project Manager. I'm not sure exactly...I'm a senior project manager, but I tend to work on the projects that are more enterprise level, so DAM falls into that.
The First Attempt of DAM
Mark: Okay, so Alex, can you tell me what the identifying factors were that your group got together and said “yep, we need a DAM and this is how we're going to approach the subject matter.”
Alex: Well, it's something I think management had been thinking about for a while. It had come up a number of times over the last five or six years. Our first foray into this was actually about 5-1/2 years ago when we tried to get something going where we could put branded assets up, like posters and logos, and things like that, and allow people to localize them and download them at the country office level.
And the problem we had at that point was the adoption was poor and the technology wasn't quite ready. There were a lot of people working on stuff like that or enough to have some offerings in the marketplace, but the technologies weren't mature and the amount of effort that went into the prep work and installation of the assets into the system made it not very efficient.
We went along with that a little bit and ended up largely using it as a distribution system for uploading stuff sort of willy-nilly, and having people download them as needed. So distribution became apparent from the usage was something that end users were interested in. And not surprising was to hear that management and needs of end users are not always perfectly in tune with each other.
So we learned a lot from that exercise and we ended up then doing the next phase a few years back where we designed our own system for cataloging and organizing assets and uploading and downloading them. And that system was homegrown and it wasn't really scalable. And so we've been playing around with this for a few years.
Getting Started With DAM – A Second Time
Alex: Then about 1-1/2 years ago we sort of went at this in earnest again and went to find another vendor because along with this need to make the branded assets and publications files easy to find and download at the country office level and with our fundraisers, we'd been producing so much video over the last five years that it got to a point where we realized we didn't have an adequate archiving system.
So the need for distribution and archiving basically intersected at that point and that's when we went back out to the marketplace again to try to find another vendor. And of course, by this time just a couple years ago, the marketplace had matured quite a bit more than it was six years ago. It seems to be a marketplace that's rapidly maturing. And there have been a number of consolidations and acquisitions in the marketplace during our proposal process, our RFP process which is a formal acquisition process that UNICEF uses for purchasing. Several of the vendors we started with either merged with other technologies or were acquired by other companies. So it was a volatile marketplace. It's still evolving I think.
-END OF SEGMENT 1-
Listen to More UNICEF Podcase Study Segments:
Part 2 – Building User Adoption with Widen SaaS DAM and Managing Video Assets for Global Humanitarian Aid (6:40)
Part 3 – Leveraging Social Media for Video Distribution and Using the Widen DAM Service for Global Scale (3:54)
Check out the related blog post: UNICEF Uses Video and Digital Asset Management to Promote Global Humanitarian Aid